I can always rely on Ibn ‘Arabi for spiritual refreshment and feeling greatly in need of drinking close to the source of compassion I have been reflecting on the great Shaykh’s life and work recently. Ibn ‘Arabi is also known as the Shaykh al-Akbar, the greatest Shaykh. He was born in Al-Andalus in the mid twelfth century and lived half his life there before travelling east. He wrote prodigiously and claimed never to write anything he had not experienced personally. His influence on the development of Sufism was immense. Stephen Hirtenstein has written a biography of Ibn ‘Arabi and what I appreciate so much about this biography is the way he introduces the reader to the thought of Ibn ‘Arabi and also describes the historical context in which he lived, wrote, and pursued his spiritual path. Many scholars see Ibn ‘Arabi as being equally significant to our present day concerns alongside the work of Jalaluddin Rumi. To read this book is like stepping into the times of Ibn ‘Arabi in Al-Andalus and bathing in his spiritual wisdom. Having lived in Andalucia I often had a sense of his presence in the places he had been whether in the mosque of Cordoba, the port of Adra, or under the mulberry trees in the Alpujarran Mountains. It felt like remembering his presence in Andalucia brought a special blessing and that I had moved back several hundred years through time, or that time had become blurred and no longer relevant. One day, insh’allah, I hope to visit his tomb in Damascus.
If you would like to read more about this great Shaykh then just click on the image.